Decision making 7 practical steps

No matter how typical the signs and symptoms, first impressions are sometimes wrong. That unusual vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain that you are having may well be benign. A diagnosis helps you and your family understand what to expect and how to prepare for the future, even if you cannot get curative treatment. Knowing the diagnosis also helps your doctor treat your symptoms better. Many people find not knowing very hard and are relieved when they finally have an explanation for their symptoms....

Learning more about your disease before the first visit

Cervical precancers (dysplasia) have not yet invaded the cervix and can all be cured with a procedure to remove a piece of your cervix (usually a LEEP or a cone, discussed in Chapter 3). Even women with cervical cancers that are detected early have a good chance of long-term survival. In fact, more than 70 of women with cervical cancer will survive for 5 years or longer and are considered cured. As we learn more about the behavior of cervical cancers and dysplasias, we have become more...

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to treat cancer. The medication is often given in the vein (intravenously), but is sometimes given by mouth. Chemotherapy is used in two different ways for cervical cancer. The chemotherapy can either be given with another treatment or by itself. Chemotherapy can be given with radiation therapy in order to make your cells more susceptible to the radiation so that the radiation works better. This approach is called chemosensitization. Platinol AQ is the...

Surgery

There are several different surgeries that can be used to treat cervical cancer, depending on the stage. A cold knife cone involves the removal of part of your cervix. It is a short outpatient procedure that is performed in an operating room so that relaxing medicine can be administered to make you comfortable. The surgery is often performed to remove abnormal cells involving the cervix. With the help of a pathologist, your physician will be able to determine the full extent of the disease. If...

Managing Risk What if My Cancer Comes Back

Concern that your cancer has recurred will stay with you for a long time. Every time you feel an extra twinge, you may worry that the cancer has returned and has now spread. Understanding the risk of recurrence, making sure to follow up regularly with your doctor, and knowing what signs to look for can help you manage these fears. After you have finished treatment, you will enter surveillance. This doesn't mean that someone in a trench coat will follow you around, but rather that you will have...

First Steps Ive Been Diagnosed with Cervical Cancer

Women often have one of two reactions to being told they have cervical cancer. If they have been having Pap smears, they may feel confused But I had a normal Pap smear last time How did this happen And if they haven't had a Pap smear in a while, they may feel guilty I should have seen the doctor sooner. Either way, the diagnosis can be devastating. Cervical cancer may be difficult for women to discuss because it involves the cervix (the opening of the womb), which is not a part of the body...

Cervical Cancer

Gynecologic Oncologist Northwest Cancer Specialists Portland, Oregon Assistant Professor The Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Baltimore, Maryland SERIES EDITORS Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS University Distinguished Service Associate Professor of Breast Cancer Administrative Director of Breast Cancer Associate Professor, Department of Surgery Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Johns...

Being Prepared The Side Ef fects o f Treatm ent

By now you and your doctor have probably sat down and come up with a treatment plan. It may be reassuring to have a course of attack against your cancer, but you are probably starting to wonder how the treatment will affect you. Each type of treatment we use to combat cervical cancer (surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy) carries its own side effects and complications, and we'll talk about what you can expect with each of these, along with some strategies to prevent or minimize side effects. It...